Additionally, Indigenous tourism is growing fast, and we want to see more Indigenous youth and community members involved in the industry, both in the development, marketing, and the grounds as guides, storytellers, and in the service industry. There is a large labour shortage in tourism, and it is amplified for Indigenous representation. Creating more Indigenous-led training programs, wage subsidies, and transportation accessibility will help pave a more inclusive tourism industry.
There is also a lack of Indigenous representation in specialized tourism marketing. It is my hope that we see more specialized Indigenous tourism marketing courses and training come out so we can see more Indigenous creatives in this space.
What have been the key focus points at ITA to help businesses in the event, hospitality, and tourism industries shift and prepare for the 2022 season?
The last two years have been really hard on our members, not having a proper tourism season. ITA’s focus is on the recovery and sustainability of our membership. We are focused on spring and summer campaigns, paid media advertising, advocacy, training programs, mentorships, and more to help prepare our members for a good tourism season.
Do you have programs or services that businesses can engage with?
Indigenous Tourism Alberta has a variety of programs and workshops this upcoming year! The best way to find out when events are scheduled is by signing up for our newsletter on our website.
The Pathway Program is grassroots-led and was developed with Indigenous frameworks and ways of knowing, doing, and being. The Pathway Program takes Indigenous Nations, Settlements, and Communities through owning and operating community tourism initiatives and goes through every aspect of grassroots community tourism development from being visitor-ready, infrastructure upgrades, and setting up a tourism office in your community. Intake will be launched in June/July 2022 and is open to Alberta Indigenous Communities.
This one-day in-person workshop takes participants through creating an idea and starting and owning an Indigenous Tourism business. From marketing plans to learning about the tourism industry if you have an idea or want to expand your Indigenous tourism business further, this workshop is for you. Sign up for our newsletter to know first when dates are announced! Workshops to be held in Grande Prairie, Slave Lake, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Edmonton, and Calgary.
Cultural Awareness Training
The Cultural Awareness program aims to help support the growth and understanding of local Indigenous ways of knowing and being in the mainstream tourism industry across Alberta. ITA is in support of reciprocal relationships between Indigenous partners and industry partners in all regions of Alberta. This training is a full-day, no-cost training aimed to help those working in the tourism industry broaden their understanding of Indigenous peoples, land, and Indigenous tourism. ITA’s Cultural Awareness Training takes participants through aspects of history and cultural understanding, with a focus on Indigenous tourism and responsibility in the promotion and best practices of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences. Knowledge is catered to the specific area each training is located in. Sign up for our to know first when dates are announced! Training to be held in Red Deer, Crowsnest Pass, Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Calgary, and Fort McMurray.
ITA has many programs available for members including webinars, business coaching, information blogs and videos, marketing initiatives, asset creation, mentorships, and more. Anyone within Alberta with a majority Indigenous-owned Tourism business can be a member of ITA. In light of COVID, our membership is free until March 2023. If you’re interested in learning more about who ITA is, what they do, and how they can help, you can find their application for membership online.